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New Connections For Stretchable, Twistable Electronics 60

tugfoigel writes "Jizhou Song, a professor in the University of Miami College of Engineering and his collaborators Professor John Rogers, at the University of Illinois and Professor Yonggang Huang, at Northwestern University have developed a new design for stretchable electronics that can be wrapped around complex shapes, without a reduction in electronic function. The new mechanical design strategy is based on semiconductor nanomaterials that can offer high stretchability (e.g., 140%) and large twistability such as corkscrew twists with tight pitch (e.g., 90 degrees in 1 cm). Potential uses for the new design include electronic devices for eye cameras, smart surgical gloves, body parts, airplane wings, back planes for liquid crystal displays and biomedical devices."
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New Connections For Stretchable, Twistable Electronics

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  • Devices (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    not devises.

  • by WindowlessView ( 703773 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @08:25PM (#26594083)

    Does this make it less likely that my headphone wires won't automatically seek to form the most complex DNA strands in the universe?

    • by dov_0 ( 1438253 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @08:39PM (#26594183)
      No, but it will be possible to get the twists even tighter...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by philspear ( 1142299 )

      No, but there's a simple solution to that: stop wrapping your headphone wires around histones.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Well tell him to stop sticking his stones right in front of my wires.
    • Hey, the nerdliest of headphone designers may make great sound, but their options for replicating their DNA leave them limited to the more eccentric solutions.

    • Think bigger - let's use this to eliminate headphone wires altogether. Instead, the mp3 player is two globs of clay you squish into your ears for maximum sound isolation. You skip to the next song by gesturing with your head twice to the right as if to say, "move along."
      • by ani23 ( 899493 )
        two globs of clay easy to lose if one drops off straight through the subway grille. they need something to tether to. using head bad idea. not to mention you would look stupid. will have unintentional skips. repetitive stress injury lawsuits. try again
    • fits all...now goes electronic!
    • by myxiplx ( 906307 )

      What you need is a stuff bag, something I had the idea for after reading this:
      http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=401814&cid=21857590 [slashdot.org]

    • Here's some advice for you: The quote is:

      Leave the gun; take the cannoli

      No true Italian says "cannolis"

  • pornographic fetishware rejoiced

    • Same thing I thought after reading "stretchable electronics that can be wrapped around complex shapes". The glove comment also tipped me off, and I now fear that slashdotters may have an even lesser chance at obtaining a girlfriend with these devices floating around. Write an iPhone/Android app to communicate with it and human replication just took a massive hit!
  • Shouldn't this be used for every type of cables? During the last couple of weeks, coiled USB cables have given me lots of grief. USB connected camera stands (used for passport pictures) keep being disconnected, but as soon as the cable has been straightened (5 meters), everything's fine.

    Recently I had the same problem with a Cat5e cable at some other place; 5 meters, half of that from the IP phone to the wall; as soon as I straightened it up, the phone was able to connect.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Recently I had the same problem with a Cat5e cable at some other place; 5 meters, half of that from the IP phone to the wall; as soon as I straightened it up, the phone was able to connect.

      That's because the 1's get stuck in the turns but the 0's make it through just fine...

      • Recently I had the same problem with a Cat5e cable at some other place; 5 meters, half of that from the IP phone to the wall; as soon as I straightened it up, the phone was able to connect.

        That's because the 1's get stuck in the turns but the 0's make it through just fine...

        Come on, no need to be so technically inaccurate in a forum like this! Inverted signaling is used, so it's the 0s that get stuck, and the 1s that get through without problem. Sheesh.

    • An Intellectual Property phone?
      Got Beckerman on speed-dial or something?
      Also, Valenti & co - making crank calls is good way to bust stress if you manage to mask your caller-ID. Not that I would *know* about any of *that*. :cool:

  • I thought one of the deals holding up the big wheel spinning in space for artificial gravity - like the station in 2001 A Space Odyssey was connections between the core and the spinning part. Maybe somehow this will help.

    • by w0mprat ( 1317953 ) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @10:03PM (#26594745)
      Rolled up circuitry will allow for very dense electronics, which may turn out to be more practical than 3d-chips and other such advances. I've often wondered about finding a way to fold semi-conductors up like origami. If we are ever to have a nanotech revolution with smart machines tiny enough to float around our blood stream and other such applications for nanomachines, it's going to be necessary to package alot of processing power in to a small volume.

      Consider that it is somewhat easier to print your circuitry in two dimensions, then to fold it up very small.

      This is also helpful for making of smart materials, for example it'd be no use having a smart skin for a aircraft if fatigue and deformation destroys the circuitry within it.
    • Why just spin the wheel? Spin the whole station.
    • Right, a material that can stretch is going to be real useful in connecting to wires between a "stationary" object and an object spinning in multiple revolutions around said stationary object. Just like a rubberband on a toy airplane can stretch infinitely without breaking. Ugh.

      NASA has known how to create AG at least 1952. A space craft designed to do this was to launch in 1977, but that program got scrapped. It is possible to created a spinning wheel around a stationary object. In fact you're using severa

  • At last! (Score:4, Funny)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Saturday January 24, 2009 @09:47PM (#26594623) Journal

    Just what I've been needing for my wi-fi enabled slinky.


  • Oddly enough, I was watching Spiderman 2 at the dentist's office today and thinking, "What I wouldn't give for the stretchable electronics and semiconductor nanomaterials that would allow me to have sweet electromechanical appendages like Dr. Octopus..." And then I go on Slashdot a few hours later, and find that my dream will soon be a reality!
  • ...a character has a pocket-sized screen that he enlarges by _stretching_ it. I think of this when browsing the Web on a mobile, especially iPhone-like devices with their stretching fingers-metaphor.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The length of a wire is limited by the wavelength of the signal it must pass. The rule of thumb is that any conductor longer than 1% of that wavelength must be treated as a transmission line. A transmission line depends on its physical properties. If any of those properties changes then the characteristic impedance of the cable changes. When that happens, signals no longer pass as they should, they distort and reflect and generally provide misery.

    With the above in mind, my WAG is that the clock rate of

  • I hope it prevents cell phones from breaking when dropped. Think of the effect that will have on landfills! Currently if you drop your cell phone, chances are some connection comes loose. Then the phone shuts down or malfunctions intermittently. What we need are electronic connections that don't break when a shock is received.
    • Currently if you drop your cell phone, chances are some connection comes loose.

      What cell phone do you use? I have a cheap Nokia GSM phone - it's got a black & white screen,
      no camera, no radio, no music player.
      It's 2 years old - fallen on hard ground multiple times.
      It's even fallen into a bucket of water ones.
      It's working fine. Doesn't shutdown or malfunction.

  • Grammar Nazi (Score:2, Informative)

    by Trebawa ( 1461025 )
    I know this is extremely grammar nazi-ish, but the article uses "e.g" where "i.e." is more appropriate. "e.g" stands for the Latin "exempli gratia", meaning "for example. "i.e.", on the other hand, stands for "id est", meaning "that is". Because the article gives the specific maximum values for stretchability and corkscrewing, rather than examples from a range of values, "i.e." should be used.
  • Blend this with the flexible display technology and you'll have something I'll be willing to have embedded subcutaneously. (But please don't add any 'enhancements' like GPS, ID verification, or anything which would allow the government to monitor my whereabouts.)
  • Take a flexible OLED, back it with this flexible circuitry, add a flexible battery and you've got an electronic material which could really give paper a run for it's money. Is there flexible memory or storage yet?

    • Well, I don't know about run for it's money. Can it be made cheaper than paper?

      *That* is the true test.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"